Thursday, December 8, 2011

International Disaster Relief Organization Japan- Deep Kyoto interviews founder Rob Mangold

The following is an excerpt from a Deep Kyoto interview of Rob Mangold, the founder of International Disaster Relief Organization (IDRO) based in Kyoto:

"It is good to see boats in the harbor at funakoshi again. 船越湾に舟見ると安心する" IDRO JAPAN blog post Nov. 27th
I arrived in Ishinomaki about 1pm yesterday. A lot has changed in the last two months. The city seems to be very busy, the area around the train station still has a lot of shuttered shops, but energy is high. Only a couple of quick stops before heading out to the peninsula.

On the 21st of this month a temporary store opened on the Ogatsu peninsula. The first time people have been able to do any local shopping since March. The bridge that was destroyed at Okawa has been rebuilt and I saw cars moving across it yesterday. I met with Nakazato san in Funakoshi. They are fishing again, and took in 250 fish the morning I arrived. The women at Funakoshi are making jewelry, and that has turned into quite a cottage industry for them…
(Rob Mangold writing from his 7th trip to Tohoku on November 24th)
Wow, the people up there are amazing. No-one is sitting around waiting for help, they are out there doing it themselves.

(From Rob’s report of his fourth trip to Tohoku last May)
As winter sets in, it is time once again to consider the plight of people in northeastern Japan, for Tohoku winters are cold and long. One Kyoto-based organization, that continues to work tirelessly to assist them, is IDRO JAPAN. As regular readers know, IDRO’s volunteers have done some incredible work over the last nine months helping the victims of 3/11 rebuild their lives. Here from the IDRO website is a review of all they have achieved:

Sponsored 7 relief trips from Kyoto

  • distributed immediate relief supplies
  • distributed carpentry tools
  • distributed electrical appliances such as washing machines, refrigerators and microwave ovens
  • replaced glass windows in Funakoshi Elementary School
  • participated in local volunteer relief activities

Sponsored a 7-week summer work camp for volunteers
  • organized over 50 volunteers
  • provided relief supplies
  • participated in local clean-up and assistance activities
  • assisted in home repair and maintenance
  • assisted in cleaning of the Miyagi Sanriku coastline

I think you will agree that that is a pretty impressive tally of results, and all of it was largely organized by one man: IDRO’s founder, Rob Mangold. A few weeks ago I sat down in Tadg’s pub with Rob, and over a few fine craft beers we talked about IDRO’s achievements thus far, and about their ongoing long-term goals. I also wanted to get to know Rob himself a bit better.
Rob Mangold & a fellow volunteer in Miyagi
Read the rest of the entry at Deep Kyoto.

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